In October 2014, Ben Hymers joined Dovecot as the new Apprentice Weaver. Three years of full-time weaving later, Ben has finished his final apprentice piece and is a fully instated member of the Dovecot weaving team. Ben Hymers | Magical Transformations is a small exhibition on Dovecot’s Viewing Balcony charting his journey through a series of pieces completed during the apprenticeship.
The tradition of learning through apprenticeships at Dovecot can be traced back to the founding of the Studio in 1912. A new apprentice works under the tutelage of a dedicated Master Weaver – Ben has been working closely with and learning from Master Weaver and Studio Manager, Naomi Robertson.
Each piece the apprentice is asked to complete presents a new challenge, to give them as much experience as possible during the three years of weaving. Alongside learning the necessary technical and practical skills, Dovecot apprentices undertake their own study into the processes, stories and history of weaving tapestry. This involves looking into archives, as well as at recent work in tapestry making and rug tufting. Finally the most important aspect of an apprenticeship is learning to be part of a studio team and working directly alongside experienced weavers on full scale tapestry projects. In 2016 Ben joined Naomi and other members of the team to weave on the Leathersellers’ tapestry.
Before joining Dovecot Ben studied History of Art at The University of Edinburgh and classical painting techniques at The Michelangelo Institute, Florence. He supported his studies by working as a close-up magician. After graduating, magic still fed his drawing and painting practice. For Ben the process of weaving warp and weft into tapestry is another form of magical transformation.
Please note Viewing Balcony Opening Times are Mon-Fri 12-3pm and Saturday 10.30am-5.30pm.